Dec
18
2014
4

Barack Obama not yet understanding that he needs to be irrelevant to 2016.

Well, I don’t need him to be irrelevant.  But you know what I mean.

This should be fascinating to watch: “In recent weeks, Democratic operatives have begun to voice concerns that the 2014 midterms made plain the limits of an approach that failed to reach beyond minority groups or those who are reflexively liberal. And yet what should come next is not yet totally clear.” Largely because it’s essentially futile.  The Democrats will not have control over their message in 2016, because in our system a sitting President has tremendous power to define for the public what his political faction does or does not care about.

And the bear is loose:

[Barack] Obama feels liberated, aides say, and sees the recent flurry of aggressive executive action and deal-making as a pivot for him to spend the last two years being more of the president he always wanted to be.

I don’t often feel sympathy for my opposite numbers – and, in fact, in this case I still don’t.  But if I were to feel sympathy, it’d be in the way that they’re going to have to spend the next two years going Never mind Barack Obama without actually looking like they’re going Never mind Barack Obama.  Because while Barack Obama’s popularity generally is in the toilet*, it’s noticeably better among Democratic primary voters. Which means that the Democrats can’t actually tell Barack Obama to sit down and shaddap.

In case you’re wondering: yes, normally second-term Presidents don’t need to be told this.  Generally speaking the sitting President gets out of the way as gracefully as possible so that the eventual nominee from their party can get on with the remarkably difficult task of winning three elections in a row.  Fortunately (for my side), nobody bothered to tell Barack Obama that. Or maybe he doesn’t care.  Or – and this would be the best answer – the man still hasn’t come to terms with the limits to his competence, and Obama thinks that he can (chuckle, snort!) help

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: If Barack Obama thinks that what was going this session was ‘deal-making’ (instead of, say, ‘trying to work around an over-rated Harry Reid’), we will probably find next year to be quite amusing, in its way.

*I should note, by the way, that his reputation will recover, post-Presidency.  That’s what typically happens.  Don’t get bent out of shape over it, because doing so won’t affect the process and you’ll just be there in the dark chewing bitter bones, as the Elves might say.

Dec
08
2014
--

The hot new Democratic trend to watch for in 2015.

Basically? Cannibalizing majority-minority districts for their voters. Expect to see more casual attacks on the process like this from Greg Sargent:

Today I chatted with David Wasserman, who closely tracks House districts for the Cook Political Report. Wasserman recently wrote that due to population shifts and redistricting that have resulted in huge concentrations of Democratic votes in Dem districts — wasting a lot of those votes — Democrats can now expect that the percentage of seats they win will consistently trail their victory in the overall popular vote by about four percentage points.

Bolding mine.  From the point of view of the Congressmen who hold those seats, those votes aren’t wasted at all – which is why the CBC and the GOP so often find themselves on the same side of redistricting court battles.  Basically, those ‘huge concentrations’ are minority voters, which is to say, black ones; and when 90% of a particular racial group consistently vote for one political party in a two-party system you tend to see operatives from both political parties take advantage of that.  So we should be seeing an amusing internal struggle going on inside the Democratic party, as white Democrats attempt to bust up existing majority-minority districts and fight to stop new ones from coming into existence…

Moe Lane

PS: Oh, one other wrinkle: black Democrats will vote for Democrats.  White Democrats tend not to vote for black politicians whose name isn’t Barack Obama.  So all those Congressmen in the CBC will promptly lose their jobs if their districts are redesigned, and they all know it.

Dec
06
2014
8

Democrats still confused as to why the South has given up on them.

I can tell you the Democrats’ problem with running candidates in the South (and everywhere else that isn’t the Pacific Coast and/or the Northeast) without trying hard, and it’s nothing that’s in this Politico article:

[Former Tennessee governor Phil] Bredesen said Democrats who are thinking about running for office need to adopt what he calls “the Walmart test.”

“When you think about what your platform is going to be, go to the nearest Walmart and stop someone in the aisle and tell them what you’re going to run on,” he said. “If that engages them and they’re interested, then you have a plan.”

(more…)

Dec
04
2014
11

Chuck Schumer and pretending that the Democratic party is not what it is.

This is an entertaining article on Chuck Schumer by Dan Henninger, but this sentence makes me raise an eyebrow: “With [his speech indicating that Democrats should not have concentrated on Obamacare], Chuck Schumer was sending an audible signal to state and local party bosses around the country and to peeved donors—aghast at the midterm results—that not everyone in Washington has lost his mind to the party’s Occupy-and-windmill wing.” …Only, the Democrats in Washington have collectively lost their minds.  Because talk is cheap.

No, seriously, we have heard this song and dance before. In 2006 and 2008 the Democrats ran a lot of candidates who talked a great game about dealing with American pocketbook issues and finding solutions and whatnot. And the American people elected those candidates… who then turned right around and looted the Treasury for the benefit of their pet causes (called the ‘stimulus’), followed closely by howlingly incompetent, and rapidly-approaching-disastrous*, social-economic engineering (‘Obamacare’).  Chuck Schumer was in on that.  The man has the morals of a cat – which is to say, he has none, but he’s legitimately affectionate towards anyone who feeds him regularly – so it doesn’t surprise me that Schumer now wants off of the Carousel. (more…)

Nov
30
2014
16

The Democrats’ surprisingly complicated 2016 Senate problem.

Interesting list of potential Democratic retirements from the Hill, here:

  • Barbara Boxer, 74
  • Joe Manchin, 67
  • Patrick Leahy, 74
  • Barbara Mikulski, 78
  • Harry Reid, 74

Manchin’s on the list because he’s doing all the things that Senators who are planning to run for Governor do: to wit, talking about how much he hates Washington DC, and letting the state party apparatus dip their beaks into his fundraising war chest.  Boxer is… tired, I think.  Also, not raising money. Of the other three: Leahy is actually younger than I thought he was; he’s probably staying.  Reid has two years of pain ahead of him.  Mikulski… Barbara Mikulski would be 80 in 2016.  That’s old for a reelection campaign. (more…)

Nov
21
2014
15

Amusing thought about how 2014 hurt 2020 for the Democrats.

Let us assume – well, actually, I’m not assuming this; I’m expecting it – that a Republican wins the Presidential election in 2016. Also assume (I am not quite expecting this) that the Senate stays Republican in the process.  Real quick: who is going to be the Democratic nominee in 2020?

This is not actually a facetious question.  The top two contenders for the Democratic nomination (Clinton and Biden) will simply be too old to run in 2020 (they’re also too old in 2016, but never mind that right now). The next obvious step is to look to the governors… but right now there isn’t a viable Democratic candidate in the bunch.  The RGA had a good year, and the DGA a bad one: which becomes relevant because the Presidential crop in 2020 will be heavily dependent on which Democratic candidates won this year.  It takes time to build an executive record in state government; so even if the Democrats have a good year in 2018 it won’t benefit them until 2024. (more…)

Nov
20
2014
6

Democrats’ vaunted social media team embarrasses its own party, again.

I thank God every day that I don’t have to produce this kind of masturbatory fodder for my political party.  ‘Ethnic cleansing.’  Ye gods and little fishes…

ethnic-cleansing

(more…)

Nov
13
2014
6

The Democrats are keeping their leadership cadre. …Bless their hearts.

Chris Cillizza is not quite gobsmacked:

Nine days ago, Democrats lost (at least) eight of their seats and their majority in the Senate.  On the House side, the party dipped to at their lowest level — in terms of raw number of seats held — since World War II. How did the party react to this rejection from the American public? By preparing to re-elect every single one of their top Congressional leaders, of course!

…but he can see gobsmacked from where he currently sits.  Basically, the Democrats are not going to change their leadership cadre.  This despite the utter disaster that befell the legislative branch of their party last week, mind you; and it’s not just that the Democrats lost the Senate and got rocked back on their heels in the House. It’s that Democrats in the state legislatures likewise got hammered.  I don’t believe in permanent Republican majorities than I believed in permanent Democratic ones, but one of the major things standing in the way of a new Democratic majority is their leadership cadre.  Robert Tracinski over at the Federalist noted that the Democratic party’s recruitment successes collapsed when it became clear that all those new, shiny Red State Democrats were there to rubber stamp urban liberal Democratic agendas. As long as the people who support that agenda still run the Democratic party, moving the needle again is going to be hard for the Democratic rank-and-file. (more…)

Nov
07
2014
8

Democrats now facing a lame-duck session crunch time ENTIRELY OF THEIR OWN MAKING.

Lotta good bits in this:

[Aside from confirming nominees, Harry] Reid also wants to move a package of expiring tax provisions, the annual Defense Department authorization bill and an extension of a tax moratorium on Internet purchases in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That will be a challenge not only because of the tight schedule, but because of expected clashes between Democrats over what should be prioritized before Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) takes over the Senate’s agenda in January.

For example, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is about to lose his chairmanship, is pushing for consideration of a bill reforming the National Security Agency despite opposition from other Democrats.

(more…)

Nov
06
2014
2

RIP: ‘Republicans cannot defeat Democratic incumbent Senators.’

Mourners, omit flowers.

“Republicans cannot defeat Democratic incumbent Senators.”  This was, in some ways, the single most obnoxious meme that Democrats promulgated in the last two, three election cycles, largely because it was based on an unusually facetious argument.  Basically, the idea was that Democrats had a skill set and resources that made their incumbent Senators bulletproof; there was no way that a Republican should challenge one, so the best hope the GOP had was to wait until a Democrat died or retired or something.  This was, of course, flaming nonsense on stilts, for three reasons:

  1. The 2010 election.  Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold both got defeated, the latter in a state that had looked (up to that point, at least) like it was getting steadily bluer and bluer. If Byron Dorgan and Evan Bayh hadn’t retired, they would have had the same problem.
  2. Retirements in general, in fact. What the meme carefully doesn’t take into account are places like Nebraska, where Ben Nelson retired rather than lose; or Senators like Chris Dodd, who was more or less forced to retire in 2010 in order to save his Connecticut seat.  And we might have gotten Virginia and Wisconsin in 2012 if Jim Webb and Herb Kohl had decided to fight it out, at that.
  3. It was always just Senators, for some reason.  The trick apparently didn’t work for incumbent Democratic governors, or statewide elected officials.  And nobody ever stopped for a moment and asked themselves “Why is that?”

(more…)

Oct
29
2014
--

Democrats: Danged if they do embrace Obama, danged if they don’t.

David Axelrod:

“I’ve always believed that it’s not an effective strategy to run against a president of your own party, unless you’ve been actively opposed to that president,” said David Axelrod, who was Obama’s top political strategist in his two presidential campaigns and a senior adviser in his White House. “You’re going to get tagged with it anyway.”

Particularly when running against said President is in direct contradiction to your own voting history.

[A] new issue of Congressional Quarterly brings fresh evidence that Senate Democrats have maintained a tight formation behind the president, even as his approval ratings have sunk. It analyzed the 120 Senate votes on which Obama has urged a “yes” or “no” this year, and found that the most vulnerable Democrats stood behind him a minimum of 96 percent of the time.

You end up pleasing nobody.

Oct
22
2014
3

A vote for Democrats is ‘A Vote for President Obama.’

Variants of this are going up in six states:

Courtesy of Freedom Partners Action Fund, this is part of a $6.5 million ad buy hitting Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire (online only), and North Carolina. Which is good news, but I have to ask something: how, in God’s name, can anybody look at this and not see it as speech? Just how ignorant do the professional scaremongers of the Democratic party think that we are that we might not recognize that the ability to say This politician is a fool; do not vote for fools is the bedrock of the First Amendment? What are they scared of?

(more…)

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